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How to get this blacklight/neon effect

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Ivan Miller
How to get this blacklight/neon effect
on Apr 24, 2015 at 12:40:42 am

Hi guys, I am going to be shooting a video and was curious as to how the editor color graded the clip below? The clip shows the RAW footage alongside the edited version. I know how he achieved the film burns, scratches, etc...what I want to know if how he color graded it to make it look like it was shot in a blacklight environment where everything pops with the neon look.







Thanks!

--Ivan


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: How to get this blacklight/neon effect
on Apr 24, 2015 at 7:18:23 am

Light in such a way to get lots of contrast when you shoot. Put strong color filters on some lights. A lot of the glow is created by isolating the highlights in post and then applying a glow (32 bit color space). Some of the glowing areas are generated by animating masks (glowing eyes for example). Saturate the colors in the footage as well using Hue/Saturation or Colorista.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Ivan Miller
Re: How to get this blacklight/neon effect
on Apr 24, 2015 at 2:54:55 pm

Thanks so much for the advice. When you say "place strong color filters on some lights" what exactly do you mean? My 2 main lights will be a traditional 48" Blacklight in a fixture and a 144LED Blacklight Spot. Do I need additional lights with gels as well?

Ivan


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: How to get this blacklight/neon effect
on Apr 24, 2015 at 3:12:03 pm
Last Edited By Tudor "Ted" Jelescu on Apr 24, 2015 at 3:12:36 pm

It all depends on the art direction - if you want to keep skin tones un-altered then use the lights on the actors without color gels and get a few accent lights with color filters to bring color on the objects in your shot. If you do not mind skin tones altered- use color gels on all your lights. One other thing- dress your talent with clothes that have high contrast and make them use objects with high contrast in light and dark tones. This will enable you to select highlights and bring in the neon glow into your shots. I highly recommend having a AE machine on location and doing several tests to see how your setup will end up looking with all fx in.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Sean Cunningham
Re: How to get this blacklight/neon effect
on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:04:55 pm

A copy of the key mask for the foreground subjects either has a 'stroke' applied, which grows it out by some number of pixels, or has parameters applied to the matte choker effect to grow, rather than shrink, a copy of the mask. You would then apply either the glow filter to the mask, giving it a saturated color to fall off to or you build your glow using multiple copies of the enlarged mask with varying degrees of blur applied and layered with with the Add transfer mode.

Assuming you've pre-comped or pre-written your grown/stroked mask to disc, working in a 32bit, linear light project, the logic for a composite might look something like this:

foreground layer -- Normal
stroked mask (tint effect applied with near white color; fast/box/gaus blur with tight radius) -- Add
stroked mask (tint effect applied with lower saturation color; fast/box/gaus blur with medium radius) -- Add
stroked mask (tint effect applied with deep, saturated color; fast/box/gaus blur with big, soft radius) -- Add
Background Layer

...and then you balance the levels of your "glow layers" with a combination of layer Opacity and possibly an Exposure effect applied to the layer. I generally prefer this method to using the Glow filter, though I've also gotten good results layering multiple glow filters. You basically want a hot, almost white core with some kind of saturated falloff in color. Even if you only have a hint of color, perceptually hot, near white rolling off to some color looks brighter than white rolling off to just soft white. White falling off to soft white looks like diffusion, not like a really bright light.


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